A couple of people sent me the link to the newest article about Cartel Coffee Lab. The article is called Little shop’s big plans crushed by giant competitor. Crushed? If anything, it’s helping them get the word out. Look at the number of media events it has created? They’ve been talked about in the newspaper several times. Was it worth the $7,000 the article says they paid? I would wager it is. People want to try coffee made on the Clover, so it creates immediate interest in their coffeehouse. It got them multiple articles in newspapers and elseware. Created word of mouth marketing. Implies that Cartel is “ahead of the times” and is a visual metaphor for “quality.” They’re the only coffee shop that has one in Arizona — scarcity. I’m sure there are other reasons, but it’s an interesting situation. On the other hand, I think they should capitalize on this and improve the appearance a bit. Put it on a table all by itself with some special lighting just for it. Place real mugs next to it, and not paper cups. Place some instructions next to it so people know what to do (it isn’t evident whether customers should operate the machine themselves or ask a barista). With a few improvements they can make it even more special.